Can blogging increase your sales?
Does it often happen that someone reads a blog post and buys your product? Not usually.
Every business has a sales process. Some know their own better than others. But a process exists for every business. Sometimes it can seem like the process for a product is shorter or longer than another. That can be the case. But most businesses have a longer process than is perceived. That’s because consumers often aren’t aware of the initial steps even as they’re occurring.
With blogging, it’s more about the initial contact between your brand and a potential customer than it is about closing the deal. It can be about closing the deal, but much more often it’s about the initial contact.
1. Blogging for Initial Contact
This is the biggest goal with blogging. You’re looking to answer questions that your target customers are asking. By doing this the best you can you’re going to be offering value to your potential customers. They’re looking for answers and information on Google, social media, email and other places. When they find your answers, they’re going to feel satisfied. Often, they will see that you’re the source of the answer.
In simple terms, when someone does something nice for you, you respect them. You remember them. If they’re selling something you feel you need or want, you will probably choose them over the competition. Even if the product is a little different or even sub-par. Not always, but in many cases.
When someone reads your blog post, it’s very likely to be the first time they’ve ever come to your website or have ever heard about your brand. The more you do this, the more your sales will increase. Obviously it’s not always direct and immediate, but it does lead to an increase.
2. Blogging for Social Proof
Blogging can also raise your authority in your industry. If there are a few competitors and one is blogging and answering a lot of questions and getting links and mentions and all that good stuff, they’re going to stand out. They’re going to appear as the authority. Especially with all that social proof.
Humans naturally look to others for proof when they’re making decisions. Seeing that the herd is generally doing one thing it’s a pretty safe bet that if you do the same thing that you’ll get the same results. Only a few people are willing to try what has been untested and unproven. You can build a business around that small audience, but for many business it’s better to become the one in the industry with the most social proof.
Blogging can help build social proof and that can lead to an increase in sales.
3. Blogging for Familiarity
A little further along in the sales cycle comes familiarity.
You’ll often find, especially with social media, that people will find out about you. Someone they follow shares or comments on a piece of your blogging content. That’s the initial contact with your brand. That curiosity will often lead people to come to your website to find out more about you.
With a blog, even a business blog, you want to show your personality. Through your writing style. Through your stories. When someone reads these types of posts they get to know about you and your brand. They become increasingly familiar with you and that leads to a higher level of comfort and eventually to more sales.
4. Blogging for Closing Sales
Sometimes I’ll run into someone that wants to write only about their products. They want to use their blog to take a customer directly to the final sale.
This rarely works. The biggest reason it doesn’t work is that this type of content is more effective as the sales content on your main website pages. On your homepage. On your services page or on the individual product pages.
For example, Amazon isn’t creating blog content with sales and product information. They use that content on the product pages. The blogs they keep are informational. They’re about the earlier steps in the process.
However, a blog can help lead to closed sales directly. You can have calls-to-action on the sidebar or even in your header or footer. You can show current promotions you have going on. You can highlight specific products you’re selling right now or that you’re running a discount on.
It’s a little offer to go along with the blog content. The blog doesn’t sell. It draws attention. Secondary content on the blog can often lead to a closed sale.
5. Tracking Blogging Effectiveness
Online marketing has led to many people tracking direct sales. They look at each individual blog post and see if someone immediately visits a product page and buys. Since that rarely happens, blogging often gets a bad reputation for sales.
A better way to track the effectiveness of anything you do is to track the change in overall sales over time. It’s a little more difficult if you’re doing many things at once. But if you isolate your activities and do one thing for, say, 3 months at a time, you can see what is moving the needle.
So if you decide that blogging is a top priority, you can cut back on the other efforts or leave them and just not increase anything. Then track the total sales over time while you’re doing the blogging. This way you capture all the effects of blogging on sales including those that read, go about their lives and then search for your brand name in a month and buy your product.
Blogging does lead to increased sales. It’s a long-term effort. It’s almost always not a direct line to sales where someone reads a post and immediately buys what you’re selling. Because of that, many get discouraged. But let them leave the blogging world. More for the rest of us. Blogging is great for other aspects of sales. But obviously the bottom line with blogging, and any marketing effort, is sales. The ways listed here are how blogging accomplishes your sales goals.